ORIGINAL SANDOS: THE REUBEN Friday, March 02, 2012

There are plenty of famous Rubens. There’s Rubén Blades, the Panamanian actor, singer and, more recently, politician. There’s, of course, Rubens, the painter. And who can forget the once-infamous, but now once again universally adored Paul Reubens (better known to thirtysomethings everywhere as Pee-wee Herman)?

But no matter what they’ve accomplished, no matter how much joy they’ve brought to the people of the world, it’s quite possible that the most famous of all Reubens is the one you’re fixing to put in your belly.

The Reuben Sandwich, made traditionally with corned beef, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut, comes with plenty of dodgy creations myths claimed by the usual suspects, chief among them the cafe owner with the bare pantry who is visited in the night by a foreign dignitary or a starlet who’s so hungry they’ll eat just about anything, to which the resourceful cook then manifests, on the fly, a new standard that spreads in popularity until it’s on countless menus spanning the continent.

Our Reuben, though, is a standard variation of the standard. We’ve swapped out the corned beef for our coriander-and-pepper cured pastrami, the Swiss cheese for gruyère and the sauerkraut for our housemade coleslaw comprised of, among other things, cabbage, vinegar, apples, red onions and (yep! you’ve guessed it) bacon.

Dressed with Thosand Island and served on grilled rye bread with a side of soup, salad or French fries, the Reuben is not just a standard’s standard, it’s quite likely that, even when you twist it, just a little, it’ll still long outlive other lesser, and even wildly inventive, sandwiches, because when you get down to it, why mess with a classic?